Monday, September 19, 2011

The Journey Through The Storm

If you have checked out my post about Our Story: Video, then you have a pretty clear picture of the highlights of our journey.  But in order for you to get the full picture you need the rest of the story.  

God didn't just start waving a magic wand in our lives and create wondrous miracles, there was a process of transformation that had to take place in us before we ever saw the glory of God!  We started praying and fasting, seeking God's guidance and then we waited.  It was during those periods of wait that we learned that in order for God to move mountains in our lives we had to put down the shovel and quit trying to dig ourselves out.

The funny thing about telling God that you want His will for you life..... you have to let go of the reigns and take a back seat.  This wasn't easy for either Todd or me,  but we truly wanted to see what God could do with our lives... if He was the one running the show.  We realized early on that His plan would be far bigger and better than anything that we could imagine for ourselves.

I have learned to ask God to never let me pray a prayer that is to small.  I can't think as big as He can or plan in the same beautiful details that He does.  So I have a choice, 
 to control it all and do it my way.... and settle 
let Him pushing, pulling, and stretching me to my full potential.

But what you need to know most about our miracle filled journey is that the pushing, pulling, and stretching part.... had a tendency to hurt, a lot!  Unfortunately, in order for us to be the people that God could lead, we needed to be changed and  transformed....
and it was very uncomfortable at times!

During our journey we have had to make choices and sacrifices in order to travel on the path that God has led us.  We were scared and confused at times praying that we were making the choices that were of His will.  We cried out when things got difficult and at times we couldn't hear God through the storm.   We hung on to the promise that He would remain faithful to us, but He required the same of us.

We always prayed for doors that weren't His will to be closed, but sometimes it seemed as if the windows were closed as well and nothing but darkness surrounded us.  
We looked to His word for light
 and reflected on all that He had done to get us to were we where.

We came through the storm because we never took our eyes off of the one leading us.  Yes, we have seen many miracles, but we have seen them because we put aside our own desires to seek God's will, because we knew that that is where we would find our true happiness.  

We saw miracles because we expected them and we never stopped looking for them.

Wen your will for yourself... matches God's will for you, 
you are guaranteed to see miracles!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

In The Quiet of The Calm

I have noticed something about my relationship with God, when my life is peaceful and quiet I tend to neglect Him more.   When I am broken and scared I am consumed with His word and I can't think about Him enough.

And then the darkness passes and I start standing on my own a little more... depending on God a little less.  There is nothing I love more than to feel my God close to me, so why do I continue to allow this to happen.  

My God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.... 

My life goal is to make sure that God is the most important part of my day, everyday, no matter what my circumstances might be.  I don't want to be a fair-weather friend, seeking Him only in times of need.  God doesn't want to just occasionally celebrate with me, He wants to celebrate every single moment.  I couldn't imagine Him not being there when I need Him, but yet how often have I had my attention directed away from Him.

I would be heartbroken if my children only came to me when they were hurt or sad, I want the joy of seeing their happiness as well.... so it only stands to reason that my heavenly Father feels the same way about me!

Addyson, Kayla, Bella, and T.C. ~ July 2009

So in the quiet of this calm I will remain faithful to you Lord... so when the next storm comes I will already be holding Your hand!

Psalm 73:28

28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Conversations With a Three Year Old!

I spent sometime outside the other day with the two youngest little blessings.  As I sat playing peek-a-boo with the baby, my three year old begins to inform me of a few ideas that she has been contemplating. 

She started playing on our playground and showing off her climbing and sliding skills.  My little angel is mighty in attitude, considering her many fears.  So naturally when she began to talk about the slide breaking I quickly chimed in with reassuring words.

However, I soon realized that her comment wasn't fear based at all.  She began to explain to me that if the slide should break, "tomorrow" then daddy could replace it with an elevator.  Then she said with great excitement.... that he could put buttons in it, "and I can push them all by myself, and go up to number four!"

That's when I realized that this new plan was birthed out of frustration from our recent stay in a hotel, where we just so happen to have stayed on the fourth floor.  When your number three of four... you apparently get beat-out on pushing the buttons on the elevator pretty frequently.

I think she did a great job coming up with a solution to her dilemma!  Now, we just need to figure out how to teach daddy how to build elevators.
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Yes Ma'am

With four kids moving about the house at all times you can imagine that sometimes the noise level is at an escalated level.  So naturally in order for me to gain their attention I would attempt to speak over the volume so they could hear me.

But I have recently become aware of a new technique.  Instead of talking over them... I talk softer.  Really, I know that it would seem impossible for them to hear me and believe me I bought into that assumption for a long time.
But it turns out that if you train them to hear your voice then they can pick it out of a crowd of noises.

I had assumed that they just didn't know I was talking to them, however I did find it peculiar that I could have a private conversation... when they weren't around and then hear them repeat it word for word!  

I realized that I had been teaching them to ignore me.  Most of the time when I had asked them to do something I would get busy and forget to follow up with them.  One of my biggest mistakes has been to yell out tasks from other rooms, which is just an invitation for an, "Oh, I didn't hear you mama."

So we began the "Yes Ma'am Points", and life hasn't been the same since!
I am retraining them to listen for my voice.  Now, when the hear me call for them the respond with a, "Yes. Ma'am," and then they come and find me.  I make sure that tasks are given face to face so there is no chance of me being misunderstood... or not heard.

They know that they have to respond to my voice right away to get their points and then they have to follow through on the task.  I now have kids running to me when they hear me say something....WOW what a difference!!  

Now, I talk softer and get better results making me a very happy mama.  
And in the words of my husband, 
"If mama ain't happy then nobody's happy!"

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Our Story: Video

Recently we were asked to share our story in a video for Southridge Church, it was such a humbling honor to be used by God in this way.  However, the sharing part is hard, not that we aren't excited about the way He is working in our lives but because we fear that we won't be able to do justice to the story.

We always knew that God was going have us tell this amazing story of the miracles that He has provided, but we couldn't have imagined the timing.
Not only is Todd's BIG test this week but we will also be submitting his applications to the residency programs. We have already been praising God for what He is going to do in both of these areas, but having the opportunity to reflect on these miracle right now has given us even more peace.

What an amazing way for us to remember not only what God has done for us to get us here but to also be encouraged for what He is ABOUT to do in our lives.  God  has provided for us in ways that we could have never imagined, it  is such a privilege to give the glory back to Him in this way and at this time in our journey.  Once again we are so humbled by our God's faithfulness!

Here is the video that was made by our friend Jason Scott for Southridge Church and used in last Sunday's service.

To listen to the entire sermon on The Power of Pray by V.P. Palmer click the podcast link below.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Learning Grace

I love teachable moments, not just for my children but for me as well.

The other day my son made a few bad decisions and received the consequence of not being able to play with his friends.  This is a big deal to my social butterfly and the worst punishment that he can imagine.

In our home we practice under the principle that you must control yourself or someone else will.  The fact is in life there are severe consequences that come from not following the rules and if I don't teach my children to abide by them then I have let them down.

A friend called and asked us to join them for a play date but because of my son's consequence I was prepared to decline the offer.  You see, I am working very hard to be consistent with giving discipline,  I have learned that my little ones learn very quickly to make better decisions and not repeat their mistakes when there is a real consequence.

But on this day I realized that I had an opportunity to teach another lesson, one that I believed would have a greater value.
I told my son of our invitation to play and then reminded him of his consequence, he went from excited to disappointed very quickly when he heard my words.  Then, I asked him if he thought he deserved to go and he reluctantly said, "no, I guess not."

  When I  told him that I was going to let him go anyway even though he didn't really deserve to go, he began to smile at me carefully not really knowing what to say.
Then I asked him, "Do you know what it is called when you get something even though you don't really deserve it?"

He looked at me with a confused expression, shook his head and said, "No."
 "It's called Grace.", I said.
Just like the kind that God gives to us just because He loves us..."

And my sweet little boy said..."Even though we didn't do anything to deserve it!"

We are never to young OR to old to be reminded of the grace that is freely offered to us by our loving Father!!

Ephesians 2:8

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

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